Belvedere College 1
Athlone Community College 6
A magnificent all-round team performance in the Dublin sunshine saw Athlone Community College advance to the second round of the Senior Leinster Cup as they smashed six goals past a shell-shocked Belvedere College.
There were few openings in a tightly contested first 15 minutes before a freak Athlone goal broke the deadlock. A hopeful lob forward by Garvan Broughall was misjudged by the Belvedere keeper and Sean Brennan seized on his indecisiveness to put the Midlanders one up. Two minutes later they were two goals to the good and this time there was no doubting the quality of the goal. Brennan picked up a Stephen Relihan pass, looked up and assessed his options before curling the ball into the far top corner of the net from 25 yards. It was the type of goal that can only give a player confidence and Brennan duly completed his hat-trick after 30 minutes; this time turning in a Darren Harney cross.
Lest Athlone were to think the game was won at this stage, the Dubliners fought back well and managed a well-taken goal of their own just before half-time.
The visitors were determined to put the result beyond doubt and the second half was barely five minutes old when a fine Tom O’Halloran cross was met by the head of Rogan Doyle to make it 4-1. Twelve minutes later the hard-working Corey Jinks got a well-deserved goal after good work on the left by Gary Mullery. It was just rewards for Jinks who had hit the post on no fewer than three occasions previously.
Credit must go to Belvedere, who despite at this stage being 5-1 down, continued to contest every ball. But for the cool defending of Calvin Payne and Marcus Kelly and the ever-alert Jason Merrigan in goal, the Dubliners could well have had more to show for their efforts than a solitary goal. Indeed the match although very competitive was played in a good spirit throughout with both teams committed to playing a passing, attacking brand of football.
The final say, however, went to the visitors. Garvan Broughall blasted home a free kick from the edge of the area to cap a wonderful team performance in which every one of the Athlone side did themselves justice. They will however know that more of the same is required if they are to progress in this highly competitive competition. Sixty-four schools the length and breadth of Leinster started off this week with the aim of winning this coveted trophy. Only one will be crowned champions next March.
Athlone Community College: Jason Merrigan, Darren Harney, Calvin Payne, Marcus Kelly, Gary Mullery, Rogan Doyle, Stephen Relihan, Garvan Broughall, Tom O’Halloran, Corey Jinks, Sean Brennan. Subs: Michael Faherty, Gary Hogan, Peter Coleman, David Flynn, Jason Conlon.